The only thing Transistor has going for it is a beautiful art style and high-quality voice acting. The rest is an exercise in tedium. Despite the artistic detail there is little interactivity to the world. The level designs are dull. The combat tries to be original but is just frustrating in that it lives uncomfortably between turn based and real-time. Plan your moves, take your actions, then run around. Boring. All this might be forgivable if not for the deliberately obtuse story telling. You’re a singer in a computer or something? With a talking sword that speaks in circles. It’s horrible.
I appreciated the 19th Century art direction, especially the hats, but it was way too long for such a simple story. Kid tries to make it at a gangster only to confront the gang leader is like the plot of half of all kung-fu movies. Also, there was some really sloppy editing throughout the early parts of the film. That’s the sort of thing that normally doesn’t bother me, but I kept being jolted by actors’ heads being in different positions as shots switched.
While I think it is a reasonably good wire-fu martial arts movie, Sword of Destiny isn’t really a worthy sequel to the near-perfect original. For one, the decision to film in English is regrettable. The native English speaking actors seem out of place and the Chinese speaking ones have trouble delivering. Second, there’s also a bit too much of those made-for-TV CGI effects. Finally, it tries a bit too hard to hit the same beats as the original but doesn’t quite understand why things like the extended flashbacks worked in Crouching Tiger. But, it’s easy to look past its flaws and just enjoy it as a well-executed martial arts picture that manages to muster a few fun original moments like the ice fight and tavern brawl.
Followers of this site (ed. yeah like that’s a thing) will remember a few years ago I created a in-browser playable version of the Applesoft BASIC game Haunted House for this site. Over the past month or so I got it in my head to push my skills as a programmer and make a much more fully realized version of the game. Today I am releasing my new version of the game, Haunted House: Remastered! It’s a vast improvement on the original in almost every way possible. In other words, it’s actually fun to play.
While it’s nowhere near the level of sophistication of an Infocom game, I think it does some pretty impressive stuff (for my skill level as a programmer). It’s still a two word parser, but the vocabulary is increased. There are full-page help screens, triggered story events, a retro-styled monochrome monitor look, and a bunch of scary sound effects! Please take a few minutes and give the game a try. It’s not too long and I try to keep the puzzle reasonably fair.
Wire has been on autopilot since their 2015 self-titled release. There’s nothing wrong with the records, just none of them rise to the brilliance of Change Becomes Us. Mind Hive starts off with some pretty good rock songs. There are some strings buried in the mix and other nice touches but the record looses steam by the end. That said, Wire remains one of the few bands left whose albums I will still buy without question (220.127.116.11.s and the various remnants of Cabaret Voltaire also included).
This was the last of the ink drawings I created for the Nox Archaist game manual. At the time of this writing I don’t know whether any of these will make it in to the final printing, but we’ll see. This is supposed to be a “cultist.” I tried to make him look a little like one of the healers from The Bard’s Tale. I own a know that looks like that.
Tonight I just started to watch The Legendary Weapons of China again by mistake. This is why I keep blogging these movies. I will eventually forget I’ve seen them before. In any event, I forgot how awesome the first ten minutes of this film is (the rest is not that great). Leave it to the Shaw Brothers to create movies that are written for eight year-olds but filled with all sorts of graphic violence. The best moment is when a fighter is commanded to rip his crotch out. At first he has a very dainty technique:
But it ends with a quick grab and, a backwards flop, and then a fistful of gore flying through the air:
Here it is in case you missed it: